Another in a series of miniprofiles of sustainability-minded people who are working to reduce humankind’s footprint on the planet. To recap, they're "mini" not only because they're short, but because all the questions are 10 words or less, and the answers are requested to match. Please, no counting.
GABRIEL ERDE-COHEN, 24, Jamaica Plain Green City Growers
I usually synopsize what the subject does, but this time, I thought Gabriel said it so well, I'd just let him speak: "We build and maintain backyard farms on people’s private land for the benefit of them and their family. It’s like having a personal CSA. [CSA, as in "community supported agriculture." Generally, farms sell shares of their output before the growing season to lessen their market risk.] "We also acquire and do bioremediation on brownfields [land tainted by past industrial activity] in the city of Boston for the purpose of turning them into city farms and educational centers. "Our newest program is consulting, designing, and building urban homesteads, which are completely sustainable homes and communities within the city. That’s the dream."
Green epiphany: "Seeing what farms really look like and seeing what nature can really look like."
Green hero: "Bill McDonough, who is revolutionizing the way we think about design."
Why did you choose this pursuit? "If we can find a way to make cities sustainable, we can ease our way into a sustainable world in a peaceful and joyful way."
A sustainability practice you've recently added: "Vermicomposting [using worms to break down organic waste]. I like it because it's urban-scaled."
An example of greenwashing that really bothers you: "The lightbulbs. Changing the lightbulbs will not change the world."
A technology you’re most hopeful about: "Bicycles."
The one thing you wish people would just get right:
What’s a question I should have asked you? "What do you consider truly sustainable?"
And your answer? "The world being more vital every year."
Are we going to make it? "Yes. 'We' being a very large sense of 'we.'"